[Congressman Larry McDonald] was the most conservative Democrat in the House in 1976. Arguably, he was the most conservative House Democrat in the twentieth century. He was a member of the John Birch Society, and had he not disappeared, along with the never-located Korean Airlines Flight 007, in 1983, he would have become the head of the JBS.The mainstream story is that KLA Flight 007 veered hours off course and wandered into Soviet air space, at which point it was shot down by the Soviets.
The aircraft was en route from New York City to Seoul. At the same time that the plane veered off course, the U.S. was conducting a spy reconnaissance mission. The Soviets claimed that KLA 007 was on a spy mission. The Politburo said it was a deliberate provocation by the United States to test the Soviet Union's military preparedness. Indeed, that is what appeared to be the case. The KLA flight appears to have been sent over Soviet air space to test Soviet air force reaction to such an incursion.
I have always thought the flight "007" was used because of the James Bond-type connection and the sense of humor of someone in control of the operation at the CIA.
Few are aware that then-Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, then-Senator Steven Symms of Idaho, and then-Representative Carroll J. Hubbard, Jr. of Kentucky were aboard sister flight KAL 015, which flew 15 minutes behind KAL 007. They were all headed to Seoul, Korea to attend the ceremonies for the 30 year anniversary of the U.S.-Korea Mutual Defense Treaty
Also curious is the fact that a major CIA operative, Ray Cline (at one point head of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence. At another point, head of the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University), would appear occasionally on CNN's Larry King Show and in one appearance the main topic was KLA flight 007. In pooh, poohing any CIA role in the flight, Cline mentioned that he had been waiting for the flight to land in Korea. I found this curious.What's such a heavy duty CIA operative doing, waiting for this plane that happens to get shot down?
I called the show to ask Cline why he was waiting for the flight, I was put on hold, but King never got to me to ask my question.
I suspect that the plane was used as a trigger plane to test Soviet air defenses. It was probably believed that the probability was that the plane wouldn't be shot down, but clearly MacDonald was placed in harms way, while Helms, Symms and Hubbard cruised through in the follow up plane.
Lesson learned: Never travel on a flight numbered 007.